Moorpark College was in a difficult position. The Lady Raiders trailed by eight points and Karina Hardman did not have the ball.
It is doubtful, however, that even Hardman, who scored a game-high 32 points, could have rallied Moorpark because there were only two minutes to play.
Cypress held off a late Moorpark surge, headed by Hardman, to defeat the Lady Raiders, 63-55, in the first round of the Southern California regional playoffs Tuesday night at Moorpark.
For Moorpark, the loss was a forgettable end to a memorable season. The Lady Raiders (21-11) were 13-0 in Western State Conference play, won their first conference title since 1981 and set a single-season win record. Cypress (24-7) was 10-0 in the Orange Empire Conference.
"I was really surprised by the way we shot the ball tonight," Moorpark Coach Gary Abraham said. "I can't remember when we shot so poorly or had so many turnovers."
Moorpark converted just 23 of 71 field-goal attempts. Only three players scored for Moorpark; six Cypress players scored in double figures to lead a well-balanced attack.
Besides Hardman, only Carol Kellick (17 points) and Kristie Sterbens (6) scored for Moorpark.
The limited scoring output cost Moorpark from advancing to the second round and a possible berth in the final of the state tournament.
"We need a total team effort out there and we just can't depend on one person to carry us," Abraham said.
That one person, obviously, was Hardman, who averaged 24 points to lead the Western State Conference in scoring. The sophomore forward was Moorpark's total offense in the final eight minutes, when she scored 13 points.
Cypress Coach Gerry Livsey conceded Hardman's points.
"We have six players who can all score and they had three," Livsey said. "That was our game plan. We knew she was going to score so we just went into the zone and got the boards."
Moorpark trailed throughout the second half but closed to within 57-53 with 4:10 to play. Cypress scored four quick points, however, before Hardman could score again and outscored Moorpark, 6-2, in the final four minutes.
"We just weren't getting the key shots inside," Hardman said. "We always play better as a team than as an individual. They were really shooting the ball well."
And they were all shooting well. Guard Karen Caries led Cypress with 14 points. Becky Wayland added 13 and Vicky Silva put in 12 points. Venetta Dorlis scored 11 and Janene Allen had 10.
Hardman scored 8 of Moorpark's first 11 points to lead the Lady Raiders to a 13-5 advantage.